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Living in the Light



Filtering by Category: The Home

The Music Filling My Home and Feeding My Soul

Jessalyn Hutto

It's hard to go anywhere with four children under the age of six. It's just a fact. Even the most well planned outing to the park can end with a "world shattering" scraped knee before a single tiny foot steps onto the sod of a playground.

This present reality, coupled with the immense responsibility of homeschooling, keeps me somewhat confined to the home for much of my day. This is the season I'm in.

Thankfully, I am a natural homebody. I can be content and even comfortable within the walls of my house for a substantial amount of time given enough coffee and good books.

I would be lying, however, if I said that interacting solely with littles all day long, whose conversational artistry is characterized by a continual barrage of unanswerable questions and "I need this..." statements, can wear a woman down. 

For this reason, I rely heavily upon podcasts and music to keep my brain engaged with the adult world. Podcasts like The White Horse Inn stimulate my thoughts toward God and his Word. They remind me of the gospel's impact on my everyday life - especially necessary after a challenging session of phonics lessons

Others, like The Circe Institute's new podcast The Mason Jar provide inspiration for my role as a home educator and remind me to place God and my children's spiritual formation at the forefront of our family's educational goals. They help me to step back and breath when that phonics lesson ends in tears rather than triumph.

These resources, streaming from the bluetooth speaker in my kitchen, faithfully feed my intellect and point me to the Lord in the midst of the daily grind.

Music, however, is unparalleled in its ability to turn this - often frazzled and worn out - momma into a dancing, clapping, happy lady once again. Unlike podcasts, music doesn't require a smidgen of quietness. Great music has the power to break through the ever-escalating noise of our lively home. It is like fresh wind of joy and inspiration being sent my way from heaven.

I'm especially thankful for music that causes my soul to rejoice in the Lord's goodness and beckons my mind to revel in the deep, deep love of Jesus. It is most typical to hear one of Shane and Shane's Worship Initiative albums blaring in our home during lunch time, but lately I've been blessed by some really great music by some relatively "new" artists that I wanted to share with you - just in case you haven't heard of them yet.

Aryn Michelle

The first artist I want to tell you about happens to be a personal friend of mine. While my husband was attending seminary in Fort Worth, we were members of the same church as Aryn Michelle and her husband. Not only did this mean that I got to enjoy her beautiful singing on Sundays (as she was often asked to help lead our church in worship), but more importantly, over the years I was blessed to develop a sweet friendship with her, as our first babes were born around the same time.

Aryn and I have spent many afternoons together discussing everything from breastfeeding, to potty training, to the sovereignty of God. She was one of the dear friends who sought to love me through my difficult second trimester miscarriage and one of the ones that I knew wouldn't shrink back from the hard questions - I didn't have to worry about her offering frivolous words of comfort when the pain was deep.

This is perhaps one of the things that makes Aryn such a unique artist. She is deep, which makes her music deep. She isn't content with putting out songs that sound like everyone else's or that dance along the edge of theological certainty. Her music is moving and at the same time thought provoking. 

Fittingly, her album is titled Depth and it truly delivers on its promise to dive below the surface of typical Christian music. She covers topics like suffering, perseverance, and living in Christ in a style that is extremely moving. I've always admired Aryn's ability to emote through her voice and this album is a perfect example of this. I don't really know of anyone to compare Aryn's style to. The best I can do is say her music is sincere, beautiful, theological, and unique.

Here is a video of her song, "Do the Same":

This album is perfect for when mommy needs a time-out. Put on some headphones, take a sip of warm coffee, and let her songs seep into your soul as the chaos rages around you. You will be blessed, friends.

I Am They

I was turned onto the next artist (or group actually) by Lindsay Swartz who mentioned them on Facebook. Their name is "I Am They," which gets its inspiration from John 17, where Jesus said, "They are not of this world, just as I am not of this world." Each of the band members seeks to live in the reality of the beautiful "they" verses found in this chapter of the Bible.

I Am They's music has been a true blessing to me recently. Remember that "wind of joy" I was speaking of earlier? This is that wind, friends. This self-titled debut album is filled with energetic and oh-so-happy tunes that you can't help but clap and sing to, such as this song, "From the Day":

One of my favorite songs on the album, however, is more somber and soul-stirring. It's titled "Amen" and is a declaration of submission to the Lord's will, even in the hard times. Being well aquatinted with grief, this song moves me every single time I hear it. I believe it will minister to many who are in the midst of pain, in the same way that Shane and Shane's beautiful song, "Though You Slay Me," has.

I heartily recommend this new album to anyone looking for some fresh and inspiring music to liven up their home. Find them on Spotify, turn up the volume and get to dancing, friends - for their is much to celebrate!

Let the Children Come! -Credo Magazine's Latest Issue

Jessalyn Hutto

The latest issue of Credo Magazine is all about sharing the Word of God with our Children. It is packed full of helpful articles covering subjects like: the importance of teaching children church history, what family worship looks like in the home, and teaching children important doctrinal truths. It also includes two great interviews that I know you will enjoy: the first is with Nancy Guthrie and the second is with Sally Michael (the co-founder and publishing consultant of Children Desiring God).

In this issue, I had the privilege of writing an article which gives an overview of the four most popular and helpful children's Bibles on the market. I look at their benefits as well as the best times to use them in a child's life. I hope that you will find it helpful.

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Marmee's Wisdom: Work and Play

Jessalyn Hutto

One of my summer reads this year is Louisa May Alcott's classic, Little Women. It is a book that I have wanted to read for some time, as I have long cherished the film adaptation starring Winona Ryder. My dear husband has had to sit through that movie more times than he would care to admit! Of course the book has been leagues better than the movie, making it a virtual feast for my imagination and a peaceful retreat as the whirlwind of my own little children swirls around me. Indeed, lingering in the home of the March family and exploring all of the nooks and crannies of their story has been such a joy.

One of the greatest joys of this book has been the opportunity to meditate on some of the spiritual lessons and themes that pervade its pages. Many of these lessons come straight from the mouth of the matriarch of the March family, affectionately referred to by her girls as "Marmee." For instance, take this little gem that she shares with her girls after they've experienced the uncomfortable affects of neglecting their necessary and good work around the home:

"Very good! then I am quite satisfied with the experiment, and fancy that we shall not have to repeat it; only don't go to the other extreme, and delve like slaves. Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life become a beautiful success, in spite of poverty."

I love the instruction to "prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well." It calls to mind this sobering principle found in Ephesians 5:

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Time is such a precious commodity and the way it tends to slip through our fingers if you are not careful in the way you use it can be disheartening. I must admit that I am not an expert in employing it well-- fault has been glaringly exposed recently as the constant needs of the four little ones in our home bid for my attention.

More than ever I am in need of this reminder to keep regular times of focused work as well as play. Setting boundaries for each of these necessary and good activities brings greater peace and order to my home (as well as my own soul!).  It is a simple principle, but one that takes much self-control.

Spirit, please continue to develop this character quality in my soul, allow me to redeem the time you've given me, and give me grace to glorify the Lord in my work as well as in my play. 

The Christian Homemaker's Handbook

Jessalyn Hutto

Let’s face it, we live in a culture that scoffs at the idea of “homemaking” as a valid life choice, much less an endeavor that requires skill, training, and education. Even within Christian circles it can be difficult at times to find godly older women who can confidently pass on their knowledge of homemaking to the younger generation.

There are practical skills needed to fulfill our calling in Titus 2 (to love our husbands, love our children, be pure, kind, self-controlled, workers at home, and submissive to our husbands), skills that cannot simply be learned from Martha Stewart (though she has much to teach). We need–more than anything–to look at our homes through the lens of Scripture and see how we can glorify our Savior through our diligent work in the home and in our families. We need older women who are passionate about the gospel to come alongside us and give us a vision for our homes–a vision that will propel us to give our lives for the sake of others and the sake of the gospel itself...

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Our Christmas Tree

Jessalyn Hutto

I occasionally mentioned how our family incorporates some of the practical traditions shared. Today I wanted to go into a little more detail as to how our family celebrates with a Christmas Tree.

As I mentioned in the series, no family’s traditions are exactly the same. In fact, most of the traditions I shared with you are not ones that we personally use and among the ones that we douse, some we have tweaked or recreated to fit our personal needs and desires. That is the point of family traditions right? They are your family’s traditions!

I am going to share with you the way my husband and I combined the Christian “Jesse Tree” tradition with our the traditional “Christmas Tree” tradition to provide a beautiful and unique way to worship the Christ of Christmas...

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